Early October, 2012: The fugitive Assassin cell of Desmond, Lucy, Rebecca and Shaun travels to Monteriggioni, where they set up a new base of operations in the secret basement of the derelict former Auditore mansion. Desmond returns to the life of Ezio, seeking clues as to where the Apple of Eden held by his ancestor might be found.
1500-1507: After escaping Rome, Ezio returns to Monteriggioni with the Apple of Eden. An attack on the town by an army under the command of Cesare Borgia, son of Rodrigo, leads to the death of Mario Auditore and the loss of the First Civilization artifact.
Ezio pursues a vendetta against his Borgia enemies as he works tirelessly to retrieve the Apple of Eden. Rodrigo is killed by Cesare during an attempt to poison his over-ambitious scion. Cesare, it transpires, wishes to forge and rule over an empire, rather than settle for the traditionally oblique forms of power and prestige favored by wiser Templars. His aspirations count for naught in the climactic showdown with the inexorable Ezio, however: the master Assassin contemptuously hurls him to his death from the battlements when they clash in Viana. Having wrested the device from the Templars once again, Ezio chooses to secure the Apple of Eden in a First Civilization temple hidden beneath the Colosseum.
October 10, 2012: As soon as Desmond learns the location of the Apple, the Assassins travel there to discover a Temple of Juno, another member of the First Civilization. Juno speaks to Desmond – her voice and ghostly form apparent to him alone – as he and his companions seek to retrieve the Apple of Eden. The Apple is “activated” once Desmond lays his hands on it. The device takes control of the Assassin and compels him, ostensibly at Juno’s behest, to fatally stab Lucy Stillman – who, Juno alludes, is a Templar spy. The Assassin collapses. In a state of deep shock, he hears voices argue over returning him to the Animus before he slips into unconsciousness.
Key Concepts & Developments
Juno was a contemporary of Minerva at the time of the original Catastrophe. Whereas Minerva appears to regard humanity as wayward children, Juno is resolutely unsentimental – indeed, actively resentful – in her assessment of the species created by her erstwhile ilk. When Desmond enters the vault where Ezio hid the Apple at the end of Brotherhood, Juno reveals that the Catastrophe was so powerful that the few First Civilization members who survived knew that they were doomed. Researching ways to perpetuate their race, they attempted to interbreed with mankind, or at least splice their own genetic code into human DNA. It is this information that offers an explanation for Desmond’s abilities: his remarkable lineage has caused him to possess an unusually high concentration of First Civilization genes.
The appearance of icons known as the Phrygian Cap (also called the Liberty Cap, signifying freedom) and Eye of Providence (representing God watching over his subjects from the heavens) during Desmond’s meeting with Juno foreshadows the setting for Assassin’s Creed III. Both appear on the Great Seal of the United States.
Though not officially confirmed until Revelations (despite hints from both Subject 16 and Juno), Lucy Stillman defected to the Templar cause before the capture of Desmond. Though raised as an Assassin, her experiences while infiltrating the Animus project at Abstergo convinced her to switch allegiance. Working directly with Warren Vidic, she engineered Desmond’s escape from Abstergo’s Italian facility, was complicit in the “attack” on the safe house at the conclusion of Assassin’s Creed II (a diversion that enabled her to leave information for Vidic to collect when the Assassins fled), and had been instructed to steal or seize the Apple of Eden to return it to the Templars.